The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) supports stakeholders in Myanmar to build more transparent, credible and inclusive electoral and political processes. Since 2012, IFES has worked with the Union Election Commission (UEC) to provide technical assistance, support operational and systems development and increase the knowledge and skills of UEC staff. In the lead-up to the historic 2015 elections, widely viewed by international observers as the most credible and transparent in Myanmar’s history, IFES provided the UEC with technical assessments and helped the UEC to develop its first strategic plan, strengthen integrity measures and engage women, persons with disabilities and ethnic minorities. The UEC, IFES and civil society organizations (CSOs) collaborated on a national voter education campaign, reaching more than 29 million voters for the 2015 elections. More recently, IFES supported the UEC to develop and launch its Strategic Plan 2019-2022 and Gender and Women’s Empowerment Policy and Action Plan to provide a means of accountability and path to independently administer elections.
IFES also works closely with CSOs to increase the inclusion of traditionally marginalized groups in the electoral process. Key achievements include:
- Training over 1,800 women through IFES’ flagship women’s leadership program, “She Leads.” Since its launch in Myanmar in 2015, “She Leads” alumnae have empowered over 200,000 community members and taken on leadership roles as elected officials, local government leaders and advocates.
- Engaging over 3,300 youth representing 35 ethnicities to actively participate in Myanmar’s democratic transition. Since 2017, IFES and its CSO partners have implemented the “Your Voice, Your Vote, Your Future” civic education program, teaching youth how to become active citizens and share information with other first-time youth voters.
- Advancing the political rights of persons with disabilities in Myanmar in partnership with the disabled persons organizations (DPO) community. IFES collaborates with DPOs to facilitate trainings, research, campaigns and other initiatives that increase awareness of the importance of including persons with disabilities in the electoral process.
- Implementing a national voter education campaign in partnership with the UEC and CSOs for the 2015 elections and 2017 by-elections. For the 2020 elections, IFES is partnering with the UEC and CSOs to conduct inclusive civic and voter education campaigns.
Participants across IFES programs have become community leaders and active participants in Myanmar’s democratic transition. IFES continues to work with the UEC and local partners as the country prepares for the 2020 elections.